This work is a study of popular mobilization in nondemocratic settings, aimed at charting the institutional sources of authoritarian breakdown and resilience. After the third “wave” of democracy took root in the latter twentieth century (Huntington 1991a), the number of democracies in the world has expanded from 44 countries (29 % of the world’s states) in 1973 to 1989 (46 %) in 2009 (Freedom House 2010). However, nearly two decades after Francis Fukuyama (1992) declared that liberalism, encapsulated in free market capitalism and political democracy, had supplanted all of its remaining ideological rivals, bringing about the “end of history,” authoritarianism has persisted in some states and reemerged in other post-transitional states. While this expansion of global democracy has assuredly been an impressive development, 58 “party-free” and 47 “not free” countries remain to the present day (Freedom House 2010). Moreover, as noted by Thomas Carothers (2002), it is not necessarily safe to make the teleological assumption that the world is moving away from despotism and toward democracy (6). Carother’s skepticism is supported by Axel Hadenius and Jan Teorell’s discovery that “from 1972 to 2003, 77 percent of transitions from authoritarian government [have] resulted in another authoritarian regime. Only 23 percent of such transitions led to democracy” (2007, 152). For this reason, there is a clear need to explore why many nascent democracies of the third wave have reverted to authoritarianism, and secondly, why certain autocracies have bucked global trends and maintained their grip on political power at the end of the twentieth century. This book will explore the latter question, which asks why certain autocracies have persisted for decades where others have collapsed or transitioned toward other forms of government.